Watching the Grammys at this point in my life is often painful – as the appeal of much of the music eludes me. But hopefully, there will be a few precious moments and enough modern-style enlightenment to make the effort worth my while. And I’m happy to report that last night’s presentation had a few good moments.
ELTON JOHN and MILEY CYRUS were surprisingly good. And I even enjoyed CARDI B and BRUNO MARS. But the best segment was clearly the FIRE AND FURY readings. I got the feeling that the show had a “fuck Donald Trump” sub theme. And my suspicions were confirmed with the aforementioned skit.
Cardi B is obviously no genius. She’s simply a hood rat bragging on her phat (albeit fake) ass and money-making prowess. But that moment when she paused from the reading to comment “Why am I even reading this shit?” was pure magic. Cardi is that wonderfully innocent combination of ROSIE PEREZ and KELLY PICKLER. A slutty girl with an inherent and irresistible sweetness. In the future, you’re gonna find that girl in movies, television and whatever media, I have little doubt. HILLARY CLINTON’S climactic reading was effective – but not what it could have been. Alas, she exhibited the very stiffness that cost her the election and gave us the clown we now suffer.
The night’s big winner was of course Bruno Mars, who is clearly the new MICHAEL JACKSON – only better if you ask me. I love that his music sounds like it was made 30 years ago yet still appeals to the young. But it’s not lost on me that his message is simply “Be a player and a pimp and get as much ass as you possibly can before you die.” Deep he ain’t. Yet, the grooves speak for themselves. They’re why he keeps winning everything.
I also liked the speech from a young and very beautiful black woman (whose name I don’t know) concerning the Times Up movement. I thought she outdid OPRAH. But honestly, I’ve had enough…having received the message over and over again. And I’m not that guy to whom it’s directed in the first place.
If you want to know exactly how out of the loop I am, imagine that DESPACITO, a video with 5 billion views on You Tube, is a song I’d never heard before. JAMES CORDEN joked that he’d never heard the song before and thought it was a catchy number that could be a hit with the right exposure. That in fact, was exactly how I felt upon hearing the song. But those 5 billion views? I think most of them were about eyeballing the astonishingly gorgeous female lead. As far as the composition itself goes, it’s not like I’ve never heard a lyric describing a dude who’s lusting for a hot babe (having written too many myself). My Spanish and hearing are good enough to get the gist of the narrative. Still, I understand why it’s a big hit.
Wrapping it up, watching the Grammys turned out to be time reasonably well spent (especially since I DVR’d it and skipped through most of the show). But I did feel that rap was over-represented. Hip hop reminds me of doo wop. Like with C – Am – F – G, there’s just so much you can do with a limited format which in the case of rap, features only words and rhythm – and little to no harmony nor melody. But I get that under-representing the genre would constitute an affront to the minority community. At least what I felt wasn’t the best music did not win out over what I felt was the deserving winner. Fortunately, that best music came from a man of color. So it was all good.
Often in the music business, good records flop and shit sells. At least with the Grammys, the best music won the prize. Hooray for that. Justice in the arts can often be hard to find.